Airobotics secures approval for remote Australian drone operation

Image: Airobotics

Airobotics has become the first company to receive approval from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) for operation of automated multi-rotor drones at sites in Australia without the need for an aircrew.

The CASA approval allows Airobotics to operate its drones beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) from its remote operations centre in Perth.

Airobotics is known for its fully autonomous drone, dubbed Optimus, which can launch and land using its Airbase without a human at the controls.

Mining is an important market for the Israeli tech company as the drone can be used for tasks such as surveying, stocktaking, photogrammetry, LiDAR scans, haul road inspections and several other activities. Airobotics has worked with several major mining companies, including BHP and Vale.

“This landmark approval is a major achievement for Airobotics and its future growth across Australia,” said Airobotics vice president of aviation and compliance, Niv Russo.

“Removing aircrews from potentially dangerous environments, like mines, enables customers to extract maximum value and reduce risk from their business operations by leveraging technology and automation.” 

The CASA approval makes Airobotics the first drone company certified to fly BVLOS in Israel, Australia and the US. The company has received major investment, breaking the $US100 million barrier in October last year after its fourth funding round since launching in June 2016.

Airobotics’s first flight certification from an aviation body was from the Civil Aviation Authority of Israel (CAAI) in March 2017.

In December last year, the company received a waiver from the United States’ Federation Aviation Authority (FAA) to allow for BVLOS flight operations over areas with “a limited number” of people. The waiver also stated that a visual observer would not be required to keep visual line of sight on the drone.

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